Students fill-up the admission forms at St Stephen's college in New Delhi on Monday.
Defying the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Delhi University (DU) Saturday refused to scrap the controversial four-year undergraduate programme, raising fears that college admissions could be staring at a nursery-like mess.
Hours after the university regulator ordered a rollback of the year-old course bitterly opposed by students and teachers, DU passed a resolution, saying it had “revised” the programme and it no longer violated the national education policy (NEP).
The standoff not only leaves 60,000 students already pursuing the course facing uncertainty but also threatens to derail arguably the most fiercely fought admission process in the country. This year, DU has received 2.75 lakh applications for 54,000 undergraduate seats.
In a stern order sent Friday night, the UGC asked DU to restore the three-year programme — prevalent prior to the introduction of the four-year course -- for admissions this session and subsequent years.
It also asked university to ensure that students already in the four-year programme were moved to the three-year system.
The regulator faulted the university for not conforming to NEP that follows 10+2+3 pattern — three years to a bachelor’s degree —other than professional courses — after passing Class 12.
After a five-hour long meeting of its academic council, the university decided to write to the UGC, saying applicants would be admitted to the three-year bachelor’s degree programme in conformation with NEP. Students who want honours degree or a B Tech would have to study for another — fourth — year, it said.
But there is nothing new in the so-called revised proposal. At present, only honours student have to spend four years to get the degree.
The four-year course allows students to exit the course in two years – for which they get a diploma. Another year, they get a degree and one more year earns them an honours degree.
The UGC issued its orders under a law that along with financial powers allows it to oversee compliance of its orders and academic interests of students, pre-empting DU argument of being an autonomous body.
The university gets most of its funds from the UGC.
The BJP in its poll manifesto for Delhi assembly elections had promised to do away with the course.